TARPON SPRINGS - In a tourist hotspot like Tarpon Springs, image is everything. It’s the reason for the Hibiscus Street renovations and the sponge dock improvement project. And now, it’s the goal behind the city’s new chronic nuisance ordinance.
Brought forward by the Tarpon Springs Police Department, the ordinance passed through the City Commission with a unanimous vote on Nov. 18.
“We’re consistently faced with certain properties that are not only a blight but really consume a lot of resources from the police department and code enforcement,” said Police Chief Robert Kochen. “(The ordinance) gives us a little more teeth, if you will, to go after these properties.”
The ordinance, Tarpon Springs Police Department Operations Capt. Barbara Templeton wrote in a memo to the City Commission, isn’t designed to address minor issues from property owners. Instead, it will be used to combat on-going issues that fail to be resolved.
TARPON SPRINGS - With flags blowing against the wind in the background, veterans were honored at the Veterans Memorial in Craig Park on Nov. 11.
The Tarpon Springs Honor Guard opened the ceremony, after which Tommy Squitieri led about 75 onlookers in the National Anthem and an opening prayer.
Joking that veterans shouldn’t be worried, Squitieri then recited the Oath of Enlistment, which everyone enlisting or re-enlisting in the Armed Forces is required to take, swearing to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against enemies, foreign and domestic,” to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same” and to “obey orders of the President of the United States.”
TARPON SPRINGS -- A decade after returning from flying combat missions for the Air Force in Afghanistan, Greg Ferris says he’s finally getting his life back.
“Back then, the military really never helped out. I couldn’t even get my disability pay,” said Ferris, who was diagnosed with anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “I was doing it alone for 10 years. I didn’t know what was happening with me, what was happening with my wife. I got to the threshold of just giving up.”
TARPON SPRINGS - On the first cool day of the season, unusual sounds rang out from the workspace at Pinellas Auto repair shop: instead of the clang of metal tools and the whir of engines, there was the clack of stiletto heels against concrete. The whisper of crinoline against cotton. And above all, the steady click of a camera.
In 1986, Paul and Darlene Liparoto opened Pinellas Auto at 444 E. Lemon St. with the goal of providing honest and fair automotive repair services with a touch of family. A few years later, their shop outgrew the building and they moved down the road. In the late ’90s, two of Paul and Darlene’s children, Shannan Titcomb and Paul Liparoto Jr., joined the company too. Now, nearly 30 years after it opened, Pinellas Auto still looks like most other auto shops except for one difference: the front office is all women.
TARPON SPRINGS - In the early 1990s, then-Charter Review Commission Chairman John Tarapani brought forward a referendum that would restrict future City Commissioners from dramatically raising the city’s tax rate without input from the voters.
In the following months, the 1993 Charter Review Commission, comprised of Tarapani, Karen Brayboy, Charles Phillips, Charles Barnes, Thomas Craig, James Kolianos and Glenn Davis, worked with then-City Attorney Herb Elliot to create Section 27 of the City Charter, which had to pass as a referendum to be approved.
On March 21, 1995, Tarpon Springs residents approved Referendum No. 17, adapting the City Charter to prohibit the Board of Commissioners from increasing the ad valorem millage rate by more than a half-mill annually without the prior approval of the electorate, with a vote of 2,237 to 1,434. But there was a problem: the rule conflicted with state law.
TARPON SPRINGS -- Through a contract with the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the city of Tarpon Springs has purchased 21 vehicles to replace old vehicles currently used by various city departments.
According to a memo from Mark Bates, the fleet manager, the city maintains a vehicle fleet to assist employees in the performance of their duties and in the timely deliverance of local government services.
The total purchase is expected to cost no more than $515,900: $169,568 for seven Dodge Chargers, $40,970 for two Chevrolet Colorado’s Extended Cabs and $305,262 for three Chevrolet Silverado’s regular cabs, two Chevrolet Silverado’s crew cabs, one Chevrolet Tahoe, one Chevrolet Express 15-passenger van, one Chevrolet Express Cargo Van, one Chevrolet Suburban 1500 and three Chevrolet Exuinoxes.
TARPON SPRINGS - Florida Highway Patrol released the name of a Palm Harbor woman killed in a single-vehicle crash about 3 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 15.
According to FHP’s report, Kristel Danielle Oliver, 41, was traveling west on Forelock Road in a 2011 Toyota Camry when she failed to negotiate a curve and ran off the road. FHP said Oliver then “overcorrected” her steering and her vehicle traveled into a canal.
TARPON SPRINGS - Half a dozen businesses and individuals were honored for their contributions to the community at the annual Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce meeting at Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill on Oct. 15.
Chamber president Reggie Gibson led the meeting, which began with the induction of the board of directors, sworn in by City Manager Mark LeCouris. Chairman Kim O’Kelley, Vice Chairman Debbie Humphrey, Secretary/Treasurer Michelle Rintz, Dee Isguzar, Todd Unbehagan and Gibson will all serve as Chamber officers for the upcoming year. Leslie DiPaci, Stacy Hansen, Mike Herrera, Lisa Obst, Madeline Robinson, Tracey Swade and Dave Wright will continue as directors. Incoming board members David Gauchman, Trish Gregory, Kathleen Nishimura, Marta Ochoa and Krista Rosado were also sworn in.
TARPON SPRINGS - After months of planning and meetings, the Tarpon Springs City Commission unanimously approved the budget for Fiscal Year 2015, including a 5.4500 millage rate, the same rate as has been adopted since 2011.
Under that millage rate, Tarpon Springs residents will pay $5.45 per $1,000 in property value. For example, a house valued at $200,000 will owe $1,090 in property taxes. At that rate, Tarpon Springs estimates it will generate $7,110,100, about $325,000 more than last fiscal year.
Tarpon Springs has not raised its millage rate since 2010 when the Commission approved a half-mill increase from 4.9500, the largest increase the city could make under state law.
Among the more than $7 million expected to be raised next year, about $19,000 of the funds will be used to purchase more books, publications and databases for the Tarpon Springs Public Library, $25,000 will go toward the Public Art Fund and $63,000 for improvements to the Tarpon Springs Golf Club.
Thanksgiving Sunday worship CLEARWATER – Chapel-By-The-Sea will celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday, Nov. 23, at the 10 a.m. worship service. Chapel-By-The-Sea Community Church is at 54 Bay Esplanade.
The Rev. Herb Freitag’s sermon is titled “In Place of Larger Barns” with the scripture from Luke 12:16-21. The special music will include Marilyn Michael and Nicole Cavalani singing a duet, “Bless This House,” and Dennis Saloky on saxophone with medley of “We Gather Together” and “Count Your Blessings.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring gifts of nonperishable food and turkeys (fresh or frozen) for the food bank at RCS. After church, attendees will have an opportunity to help decorate the church for Christmas.
Church and youth Sunday school begin at 10 a.m. Adult Sunday school begins at 9 a.m.
MLK Neighborhood Center Coalition planning sessions CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition hosts weekly planning sessions every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 1201 Douglas Ave. It also hosts a neighborhood community market each fourth Saturday, with the June market set for the 28th.
The Community Outreach Team invites people to join them in making phone calls or writing letters to the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center to inspire neighbors with the progress that is being made.
City Power Toastmasters Club meeting ST. PETERSBURG – The City Power Toastmasters Club, a nonprofit communication and leadership club, meets Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the Municipal Services Building, One Fourth St. N., Sixth Floor, Room 600.
The club teaches self-confidence and skills to help listen, think, speak and gain leadership qualities. Participants gain poise, positive body language and speak more easily.
Guests are welcome to visit for free with no pressure to join.